Why The Future of Security is Technology Led

Introducing G4S Fire & Security Systems

With today’s security consumers expecting a proactive, data-driven, intelligent and informed approach to security delivery, the role of technology in the modern security programme has become critical.

The trend is reflected in market forecasts, with Mintel expecting the security equipment market to rise by 26% between 2021 and 2025 in their UK Security Equipment, Access Control and CCTV report published in 2021.

Tim Goodwill, Sales Director G4S Fire and Security Systems explains how identifying a security partner that can deliver across both technology and personnel provision provides far greater accountability and makes security more effective.

Integration is Key

Security works best when human expertise is considered alongside technology, allowing the strengths of both to work together in a holistic, integrated programme. When we employ technologies in this way, it not only improves security but also makes the operation more financially efficient and sustainable.

What does that mean in practice? Here are a few examples.

CCTV platforms cover a far greater surface area than an officer performing a patrol and  provide real time, 24/7 monitoring to a centralised control room. Analytics can alert to unusual activity or motion, which can then be used to direct the security officer on what and where to investigate. Without this intelligence, the chances of security being in the right place at the right time are significantly reduced.

Post pandemic, we see a far greater appetite to challenge security design with a view to controlling risk and delivering financial savings. Technology has a critical role to play.

One of our clients, a property management company operating an industrial estate made up of over 100 tenant business units, recently realised the cost benefits available.

Theft, vandalism and trespassing were major problems at the site, leading to dissatisfaction and lack of confidence from tenants. There were regular incidents of fly-tipping, pallet theft, equipment theft and car dumping.

When G4S took a closer look at the existing security coverage, it was clear that the CCTV coverage was inadequate and the static security officers on site felt vulnerable and unsafe.

We gated the site with physical security measures and upgraded the entire CCTV system to improve coverage. The static guard and vehicle were replaced with 24/7 remote monitoring of the site, as well as a regular site patrol and timed incident response service.

This approach improved security, while reducing costs by over £65k pa.  In addition to cost savings, the client enjoyed huge sustainability benefits. Their carbon emissions dropped by approximately 8,308kgs per year and water use decreased by 63,000 litres.

With a total of 17 sites for this client, the estimated savings if this approach was implemented at all sites was estimated at £550,000 per year and the CO2e reduction at 28,949 kg per year, which is the equivalent to a car driving around the world, twice.

Introducing G4S Fire & Security Systems

Whilst most people know G4S for the provision of security officers, technology is far more developed in G4S than many realise.

G4S Fire and Security Systems is the technology arm of the business. Employing over 150 engineers and supporting 3,500 sites across the UK, G4S Fire and Security Systems designs, installs and maintains a broad range of security systems to customers of all sizes, with a specialisation in high security environments such as critical national infrastructure.

Clients include universities and higher education, healthcare, data centres and stadia, as well as Europe’s largest construction project. We supply security systems to a number of critical infrastructure and high security projects which means that our existing and potential customers view us a trusted partner.

As an example of the size and scale of the technology capability, G4S Fire & Security Systems is currently delivering the largest value Security Systems Project ever awarded in its sector. The project covers 800 sites across the UK and includes 50,000 cameras, 25,000 access control doors, 32,000 PA speakers, 250,000 intruder alarm points and 150,000 network points.

What’s significant is that not only does G4S Fire & Security Systems install the technology itself, but real time service is delivered by our SOC (Security Operations Centre) which monitors surveillance from all sites simultaneously and intervenes when necessary.

If the SOC is alerted to a threat such as a fire, intruder or lone worker request for support, staff will immediately react and deploy an appropriate physical security response working in close collaboration with the on-site security teams and G4S mobile incident response.

This centralised approach has allowed G4S and the client to consolidate the servicing of both the fire & life safety and security systems. This centralises accountability for system support and issue resolution and means that the same engineer can service both systems, reducing the amount of travel needed for site visits – offering a clear sustainability and cost-saving benefit.

Carefully Managed Partners                                               

Rather than manufacturing the technology, G4S Fire and Security Systems is an “integrator”, leveraging multi-year relationships with trusted manufacturing partners such as Avigilon, Axis and Honeywell. We operate a rigorous vendor selection programme and then commit to accreditation programmes so our customers can be confident that we have the necessary skills and support infrastructure to deliver on our promises.

We take quality seriously and recognise the confidence that product accreditations provide our customers. One example is G4S’ Access Control System Symmetry which has been listed in the National Protective Security Authority Catalogue of Security Equipment (CSE). This catalogue exists to help security practitioners identify appropriate physical security equipment.

Design, Manage and Maintain

Behind every system’s deployment is a well-established support process that exists to make sure each project is completed on time and within budget.

The process starts with design. For each project, the Design Team carefully evaluates the requirements and recommends a solution to suit the environment and budget. They look at a whole host of factors including power availability, network infrastructure, coverage and integration with existing systems.

Once the project is approved, it is handed over to the Project Management team, who oversee all aspects of implementation to make sure the project is successful. The team following a 3-stage process made up of:

  • Preparation: where the team complete pre-installation surveys, produce detailed delivery, installation, commissioning, handover and user training plans.
  • Execution: equipment deliveries, ensuring the right site access clearances are in place, installation and testing, certification and handover completion.
  • Optimisation; completion of user training, definition of preventative maintenance cycle and handover into customer care team.

Once the systems are live, the Customer Care Centre provides 24/7 support to quickly resolve any issues, as well as working closely with the UK-wide field-based engineering team. When a service issue does arise that cannot be resolved remotely, the team uses real time, location intelligence to identify the most suitable engineer with appropriate skills to attend site and complete the fix.

Given the critical nature of many of the sites that we secure, speed of response is key. We operate with some demanding response targets that we are proud to meet over 90% of the time.

In many instances, we go a step further and provide real time remote security services from our highly accredited, fully resilient Cat II NSI Gold Standard Security Operations Centre which provides round the clock support and delivers a whole suite of services, including remote surveillance, alarm monitoring, lone worker monitoring and intercoms.

This site manages over 750,000 security incidents annually, triaging false alarms, providing first level support and then dispatching a security team or blue light (emergency services) when necessary for more detailed investigation.

So, with the post pandemic environment pushing the shape and scale of the future of security, technology is here to stay, and G4S Fire and Security Systems is playing a crucial role.

With technology systems at the heart, G4S connected security programmes are reshaping the security of the future.

To find out more about the role of technology in modern security and how G4S Fire and Security Systems integrates with G4S personnel provision visit the technology area of the G4S website here  https://www.g4s.com/en-gb/what-we-do/security-solutions/commercial-security-systems

Author: Tim Goodwill of G4S Fire and Security Systems

Tim Goodwill of G4S Fire and Security Systems

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About the Author: Michael O'Sullivan